18 Nov 2013

Documentary photographer speaks of barbaric violence in PNG

6:47 am on 18 November 2013

A Russian documentary photographer and consultant to the United Nations says he has witnessed horrific cases of violence against women and children in Papua New Guinea.

Vlad Sokhin is a Russian photographer and has travelled widely in PNG over the last two years.

Speaking at an Oxfam and Amnesty International event in Auckland on Friday, Mr Sokhin showed graphic photographs of people accused of sorcery who had been killed, or badly maimed.

He says one reason why innocent people are accused of witchery causing the death of others is that they don't understand disease, and want to find someone to blame.

But Vlad Sokhin says the other reason is far more sinister.

"When people want just to grab a house or land off someone marginalised in the community, like an old woman or an old man, they would prefer just to kill them and to get it, and sometimes it happens by relatives. If a mother died and she inherited a house to her daughter, not to her son, then he'd just prefer to accuse his sister of sorcery and just get the house."

Vlad Sokhin.